Former San Diego State basketball player and Assemblymember Chris Holden has introduced AB 299, the Hazing Accountability Bill, which will allow for civil action to be brought against an educational institution for an instance of hazing in which one or more students were involved if that educational institution knew or should have known of the dangerous hazing practices of an affiliated organization.
“Parents send their children to school in hopes of achieving a career and future better than their own,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “However, it is every parent’s nightmare when serious and even fatal injuries could have been wholly protected by the education institution and their child has suffered the trauma as a result.”
Extracurricular activities among students of educational institutions are a quintessential part of the American school experience, especially at a collegiate level. However, there has been an influx of dangerous hazing practices within these organizations, and a lackluster effort on the part of many institutions to address it in a preventative and proactive manner, Holden said.
According to Indiana University Press, there has been at least one hazing-related death a year in the U.S. between 1961 and 2017.
Hazing is a clearly detrimental practice that California has characteristically taken seriously through legislation, Holden said.
“This piece of legislation keeps us on that path by holding the educational institutions who promote participation in and benefit from these organizations responsible for the consequences that they may bring to students. This responsibility will hopefully incentivize institutions to bolster their oversight and preventative measures as they pertain to hazing in an effort to save students’ lives.”
“I stand in solidarity with victims of hazing, though many are not as fortunate to be able to tell their stories, I am here, prepared and actively listening to how your educational experience can be memorable and safe,” said Holden.